Interruption (part 1)

By H TOMLIN | Published: May 30, 2010

She could hear the crisp crunching beneath her feat. Reminding her of a Nebraska winter. The tall grasses frozen to a grayish hue on a February morning.

The same sound small soft ice cubes make between teeth.

But this was not that cold. This was perfect. The middle. Not hot, not cold. It was in between everything she knew.

This sound, it was not frozen plants beneath her feet. Rather, it was vivid green ground cover, plump succulent leaves with tough skin that burst with the pressure of her weight. Thick orange flowers popping out in between.

Her feet were moving her near the edge.

And there, where the ground gave way, where the earth and rock gave up, shattered in resistance, she looked out over the endless expanse.

Water. Foaming salt water.

Fear swept over her as she stood this close to the edge, close enough to take one more step, it would be enough to give her body to it. The thought made her dizzy. Her eyes on the moving waves made the earth seam to sway around her.

She took a step back. Breathing in and looking up.

The uninterrupted cloud cover made the day a blanket of light, unable to pinpoint the source. A gray tint was cast on the world around her, gloom.

She stood on the cliff, watching the foam, the powerful waves smashing again and again against the rocks below. The forceful determination to shatter, to crumble, to make that land disappear. The infinite beast of water consuming all that she depended on, bit by bit. The progress it made was too small, hard to notice, but she marked it in this moment, let the reality of it into her consciousness.

Even the earth would perish.

Everything. One day.

The ocean. She breathed in and out. The waves made constant groans and grumbles, helping her drown out her thoughts. Just be.

The air was moist, mist. It rained in light wisps that caressed her cheeks and made her lashes flutter and vision slightly blur.

A dim day with no sun.

The entirety of nature from soil to sky seemed to tell her of what she already felt inside.

It was a strange reflection, a strange moment, it was a glance into a mirror. But instead of glass, she was looking into the world, the outside. Taking in the smell and sound and taste and finding that the outside was no different than what was within.

Is this what it is to be god?

To forever see oneself in all that exists, but then to find that the inner self is even more. To await the next creation, one that may paint a more perfect depiction of one’s inner self. What new thing must come into existence in order to reflect the fullness inside her?

Soon she would return to her campsite. He would be waiting, leaning against a tree, studying with his eyes everything around him. Study her with those same eyes in a familiar acknowledgment of her place in his world.

They would start a fire and prepare their meal and laugh over their life together. What had become of the days, of the time.

The dark would slowly creep in around them until the fire turned to ash and amber. Then they would huddle together, wrapped in blankets, and surrounded by their thin shelter. The smells of evergreen, dirt, and burnt wood to lull them to sleep.

She was about to turn away, pull herself from this unexpected moment of depth between her soul and the sea when she saw it.

The clouds were delicately parting, a light was breaking through, somewhere far out, over the ocean. At first she thought it was the sun, but it was late, the sun would be lower in the sky, setting on the horizon, behind the dense layer of gray. This was higher, and the way the clouds moved in swirls,

it was unnatural.

It was cream being stirred into coffee, the first moment when black is broken by white tendrils. Separating. Instead of the white of milk it was an intense light, brighter than the sun.

No, that was impossible. What could give this much light if not the sun?

She turned her eyes away. They sent messages to her mind she could hardly grasp. The usual black imprint in the retina that staring at the sun might inspire. But instead of a shadowy disc her vision was disturbed by black tendrils, reaching and swaying. She stumbled, startled at how blind she had become, how it dominated her sight. She determined her self to keep her eyes locked on the the ground. Feeling certain that this light would make her blind.

Staring down, the colors became whitewash. The world was loosing itself, becoming muted, a nuclear blast. She was certain, in that moment, that soon she would die.

The light became so intense she felt as if it were screaming, as though sound merged with sight. Maybe it was her own voice. Her own piercing scream. She felt the exhaustion of it, the inability to breathe in while the air ripped out of her body, out of her lungs. This moment had no sense in it. She was just barely aware.


Something new had entered into creation. Something never sensed before. It came with this blast of unearthly light, then subsided. The light was gone, it was a normal day again.

She turned from the ground to look again out across the ocean. In the distance was now a black orb, lowering itself into the water. Moving at a rate that was too controlled, slower than falling. As if a force other than gravity was lowering it toward the water. The sight of it was disturbing. It was not black. It was too dark, a darker black than should exist, than could exist. A depth to it that she was certain had never been seen or sensed on the planet before.

The woman considered running, but where would she go. The world had allowed this thing into it and there would be no escape.

It was too late.

The black hole touched the water and the wave began. She heard the sound of thunder. Then could see the wall rushing toward her, the water came faster than she could think.

It struck the rock and ate it all.

Her body was hardly a challenge for the monstrous force. A blade of grass before a tornado. There was no chance, no escape. The wall of water broke every part of her.

Earth disappeared.


Had it been a dream? She tried to take in a breath but was struck by the pain, it blinded her, every nerve felt like fire. She was a bag of shattered glass, the piercing and grinding. She knew this was hell. No creature could survive the pain. It must be the torture inflicted by a being of pure evil. She was blinded by red heat. Pain.

Something touched her, it was not cool or warm. It was not smooth. It was nothing. Nothing touched her. But she sensed it. Not with feeling but with lack of feeling. A part of her body did not feel the pain, the perpetual pain, it simply ceased to feel. It was a place, a physical local on her body that was more than dead, that completely stopped being. And just as her mind grasped this absence, everything turned off.

Then, in an instant, the lights were back on. A drug enduced sleep, awakening as soon as the slumber fell, complete absence of thought while under. It could have been days, but to her mind it was immediate.

Her eyes opened now to the ocean scene she had been in before… she was so confused with the turn of events, she gave up the effort to even try to determine how long it had been since she first stood, looking out over the crashing waves. Since she felt in control of her life.

She was back at the beginning; someone had pressed rewind on her existence. But it was different now.

No, this was not the same place.

It looked the same at first, she could not quite pinpoint the change, but this was different. Somehow. The colors had shifted.

Her senses focused on a beetle flying near her face. She saw her own face reflected off of its glimmering side, the many shades of red that existed in the light, the intensity of it made her forget everything she thought she knew about the color.

This was something she knew she shouldn’t be able to see. A thing her eyes and ears would not have noticed in her first life, before the light, the black, the wave of crushing water, the pain. There was a different awareness in this moment.

Out, over the sea, she spotted a gull that dove to the water and recovered a fish. Plucked it from the glass surface, making it real in the world of earth and air. Crushing its bones between its beak, it flew on, looking for a place to land.

Between her feet, smoothly gliding, winding between the blades of brush, a gold and silver snake progressed. She knew its mind. Knew it had eaten the egg with a bird’s heart beating inside, how it had thirsted the blood, sensed it on its tongue, swallowed whole the featherless chick just as it was about to emerge from its cocoon. Just as it was so close to tasting life on the outside for the first time…

it almost existed.

Now it was being digested and the snake seemed to smile at her, a look of knowing, aware that she knew what it was.

What it had done.

Its eyes caught hers and again she could see her own reflection inside the glass, deep in the black of them shone her own soul. It made her gasp and look around frantically for a way to escape.

In this world the woman was in touch with a side of reality she had never seen before. The world of creatures that had always existed inside the same space she occupied. She knew this was nothing new. It was only new to her awareness. These were creatures, just like her. They had claim to the earth, just like her. They always had.

It was only that now, now she could see them. In this moment there was no way for her to ignore what had so conveniently escaped her notice in her first life.

Her head shook, she was trying to make sense of it.

Her body did not hurt. It felt real, felt the same as it had before the wave, before the impossible events that caused the wall of ocean water that crushed her, killed her. She knew it had killed her.

She should not be here now.

Something caught her eye. She turned only to be blinded by a light, no, it was the sun. The sun was standing just behind her and to her right. She shielded her eyes, but refused to turn away.

The sun was humming.

It was a vibration of sound her mind could not make sense of. To call it a hum is simply the only word in human vocabulary that even closely describes the sound. Was it really a sound at all? The light existed with a presence that seemed like a hum. She knew that if this was eternity, she would loose her mind to this, it was too persistent, too unnatural. There was no way to think straight with the constant… whatever it was that the light did.

Then the light spoke.

Was it words? Was this language?

The woman used her own words, her own language, and asked the light,


It ceased to exist in that moment. The hum, the light, both gone.

The woman looked around. She saw a spider on its web sewn delicately across two dying bushes, brown with thirst. The spider was draining its prey. The creature looked back at her, its black eyes fixed on her, its gray lips parting to show its white teeth. The grimace of a killer, a monster.

Its captive was still pounding its wings, desperation, a soul knowing its end, fighting, striving to keep its life.

Then the spider sunk in again, until the last flutter. The feast was ended. Victim had expired. The fun was over for the killer who now scurried away, no longer interested.

The woman had escaped the pain of a broken body, but now, this world, this was not her world. She was in a haunted house. A nightmare.

She must escape.

She turned around, trying to understand where she was and where she could possibly go. Her feet took strides away from the cliff, away from the ocean, into the ferns and trees. It wasn’t her moving, it was something else. This felt like her body, but her mind did not have complete control. There was an impulse inside of her she did not know, could not understand. An alien presence, moving her legs, carrying her body into the depths of the forest.

Her journey took her past more death, more hunters, more helpless prey. Her new senses marked every bone broken, every drop of blood passing from one creature to the next, the thoughts of the predator; its pride, the rush of the hunt, the cognitive medals of victory, the boredom once it was over.

Her heart was pounding and she felt, more and more, that she was beating her wings against a web, unable to get loose, helpless… about to die.

Then, through the trees, again she saw the sun. Instinctually she kept her eyes to the ground so she would not be blinded. As she came closer she could sense the hum again. The perpetual senseless hum that made her question moving closer. But how else would she escape? How else could she come free? The only escape would be death. To be released from this trap, she had to give up her life to the hunter.

And who else would the hunter be if not this being of light?

Her body moved her closer until she could not look anywhere without seeing the light. This dream-body unwilling to turn away, unwilling to run, left her only to stare into the being. Let the hum shake her body, penetrate the beating of her heart, shaking it apart.

"I will die," she thought with relief, "I will die."

Again the being spoke in the strange language she could not understand. She waited this time. Afraid that if she spoke she would enter back into the nightmare. She just wanted to escape. Without words she stood.

"Kill me now," her heart cried in silence. "Please."

A distant memory, too far back for her to truly recall, echoed the meaning of this being's words. Had she known this language in another life? There was no context for it, her life before was too far away, but she began to listen closer, allow her mind to relax and the meaning to surface.

And like a piece of wood floating to the surface of the water she finally understood.


The meaning behind that strand of words… it was remorse.

It was a desire to change what had occurred. Take back the devastation it had inflicted by entering into the world. Being a non-creature among these. That it was neither hunter nor prey. It was not a part of the balance.

It did not belong, it did not belong.

And it was telling her this over and over as if crying, grieving its very presence with her now.

The words, the language, the rest of it did not make sense to her, but this small part was clear. She let her mind wrap around it.

Once she fully grasped the message, as if the being could measure her understanding to know when its communication was complete, she was released.

She knew her own body again. No longer was she standing in a forest. No longer was there an unnatural impulse leading her or heightened senses detecting everything she wanted desperately to ignore.

Instead she was surrounded by black, unable to move,

and there she waited.

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